Local company back to making jerky

Originally published in the 6/2/17 Yellowstone County News print edition.

SHEPHERD — Jerky is back on the shelf at S & T Project Meats, and the Huntley-based business went back into the production of jerky this week.

State inspectors demanded a recall of the company’s jerky on May 5, an action that business owners Shane and Tanya Flowers appealed and hoped to have rescinded by the Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) at a hearing on Thursday, May 25.

But their jerky is not back on the shelf because of anything that happened at the hearing. In fact, there was no hearing on Thursday, as Mike Honeycutt, executive director of the Montana Department of Livestock, said there would be during a discussion with county commissioners last week. Shane Flowers said that they were simply informed by email on Thursday, by Honeycutt, that he was denying their appeal.

The next step in the process will be to take their appeal before the Montana Board of Livestock.

The jerky that the Flowers are now selling was made after the dates of the recalled product. The recall was for jerky packed between April 10, 2016, and April 10, 2017, following an “audit” by federal inspectors on April 10. Inspectors imposed the recall after failing to acquire documentation from S & T Project Meats, regarding the monitoring of the opening and closing of dampers on the ovens in which the jerky is processed.

Flowers said that the jerky they are now selling was made after April 10, and in compliance with the regulation to track the dampers. He said that they went back into production a week after the recall, only to have to quit again, after receiving a “cease and desist” order from the DOL, which was issued to all jerky processors in the state, so that inspectors could make sure that they were all in compliance in the use of their dampers.

“They pulled all of our product that we made between April 10 and May 8,” said Flowers, “They tied up all that product and then released it.”

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